"Into the Vertical:
Verticality was an important aspect of urban African American life in the early twentieth century. In this paper, the term stands for three different but entangled concepts of verticality: vertical city planning, vertical social mobility, and vertical movement. Basketball, as an expression of urban African American culture, serves as a connecting link between these three different notions of verticality, incorporating facets of all of them. Firstly, due to its spatial adaptability and upright dimension, basketball thrived in the confined space of the inner city where traditional American team sports like baseball or football faded. Secondly, the founding of athletic clubs and the organization of basketball-and-dance events did not only strengthen African American communities by instilling black pride and a new urban identity, but also promoted hope for upward social mobility. Thirdly, basketball quickly became entwined with other aspects of African American culture, primarily dances that, like the Lindy Hop with its jumping motions, also involved a vertical aspect.